ARTICLE REMOVED —
On April 11, 2014, I was contacted by Legal Counsel for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The communication alleged that publication of a complaint of misconduct and exhibits filed by the WIPO Deputy Director was defamatory and criminal under Swiss law. Legal action was threatened unless I immediately acquiesced to the demands. Here is the e-mail I received:
I am writing to you in my capacity as Legal Counsel of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in relation to a report and its accompanying exhibits (“WIPO Deputy Director General Alleges Gurry Misconduct”) that are posted on your website IP Watchdog.
I should like to express my grave concern over the contents of this report, which is both insulting and defamatory, as it contains false statements that harm WIPO and the reputation of WIPO’s Director General, Mr. Francis Gurry.
As at Friday, April 11, 2014, we have noticed that the Report itself has been removed from the website. We are, however, very concerned to see that the annexes to the Report (the so-called “exhibits”) are still posted on your website. As you will no doubt know, the said Report and its exhibits or annexes constitute defamatory material which, inter alia, suggest corruption, concern DNA allegations, and are a republication of rehashed allegations.
In addition, I should like to remind you that under Swiss law, the publication of such false and defamatory material could constitute a criminal offence. This is, of course, without prejudice to the laws of any jurisdiction to which you may be subject.
We hereby request that you immediately remove the Report and all its exhibits or annexes from the website.
We hereby further request that you publish an apology to the Director General of WIPO for the publication of false and defamatory material on the website.
Please be informed that if this request is not immediately acceded to, the Director General and WIPO will seek independent legal advise to bring defamation proceedings against you in any competent jurisdiction.
We thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
Legal Counsel / World Intellectual Property Organization
As some likely know, on April 8, 2014, I had a total right hip replacement. I am doing well, but since surgery I have been on pain medication.
I am a believer in the First Amendment and the right of free speech, but given the extenuating circumstances and without admitting anything, I decided to remove the complaint and exhibits. I do not like giving into censorship, but now is not the right time for me to be making any legal decisions.
In my opinion, without the complaint of misconduct and the associated exhibits the article falls apart. Therefore, I have deleted the article altogether.
Join the Discussion
4 comments so far.
AnonApril 8, 2014 12:33 pm
Your comment of “When police take fingerprints, must they first ask permission of the one who left the fingerprint behind? will be politely discarded, as it is evident that you have no experience at all dealing with civil liberties and what a government may or may not do in the presence or absence of a crime.
Your further comment of “No wonder the USPTO lacks a hot seat incumbent at the moment. strikes me as particularly inane. The point of having someone vetted by the Senate is to promote accountability. You seem to want to promote the opposite of non-accountability by impliedly approving of the Executive Office operating in an arguably illegal manner (another of Hal Wegner’s very vocal pet peeves).
I do wonder often what effect you desire when I read your posts. Do your really mean to stumble about as you do?
MaxDreiApril 8, 2014 10:56 am
In his Report Mr Pooley blithely declares that he expects “an attempt to retaliate against me”, because he has chosen not to “remain silent in the face of wrongdoing by leaders”. What does he envisage, I wonder. Unfair attacks on his integrity? Unfounded insinuations, allegations, accusations perhaps, that actually he is in somebody else’s pocket, doing somebody else’s bidding?
Of course, whatever form that “retaliation” might take, will have to be done rather quickly, given that Mr Pooley’s term expires in November this year, upon which he will “return to the private sector”.
Meanwhile, over at the EPO, the President is also getting much criticism currently, for his perceived high-handedness.
No wonder the USPTO lacks a hot seat incumbent at the moment.
MaxDreiApril 8, 2014 10:25 am
I can’t read the WSJ article in full unless I subscribe to it but from its opening lines I see that the worrisome thing is North Korea. I gather that Mr Gurry is “often at odds with American goals”. Oh dear oh dear.
Conversely, Mr Pooley is troubled by something else entirely, namely the analysis of traces of human DNA without first asking the permission of the person who left the traces behind. When police take fingerprints, must they first ask permission of the one who left the fingerprint behind?
AnonApril 8, 2014 09:34 am
I note that there is sharp disagreement on this issue between you and Hal Wegner.
Hal recently pointed out that it appears that Zoe Lofgren has retreated from her December letter and has congratulated (if not endorsed) Mr. Gurry for the position.